Tag Archives: position of responsibility

St Mellion, Cornwall: Michael McNamara

#TheList farrier Michael Francis McNamara, born c. 1979, of Island Gate Stables, Saltash PL12 6RJ – violently attacked a horse to make the animal show him respect

Horse abuser Michael McNamara of Saltash, Cornwall

An experienced farrier kicked and punched a horse and jabbed him several times with a metal object because he wanted the animal to “show him some respect”.

McNamara pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Prosecutor Lindi Meyer, on behalf of the RSPCA, said the incident happened in the presence of a child at some stables in the south east Cornwall area on the afternoon of January 4, 2019.

McNamara is a fourth generation farrier with 24 years of experience. He was clipping a Bay Gelding horse’s hooves when he “lost his temper” and began beating the animal.

In CCTV shown to the court, McNamara could be seen harshly picking up the horse’s legs, kicking and punching him and also jabbing him with a metal tool several times, all while shouting angrily at the terrified animal.

The horse attempted several times to swing away from McNamara, but was unable to as he was being held by a rope.

A vet concluded that the attack caused the horse pain lasting several days, with injuries including bruising and inflammation, as well as fear, anxiety and a future lack of trust.

Horse abuser Michael McNamara of Saltash, Cornwall

“The horse was showing signs of fear and anxiety,” Ms Meyer said. “He offered the horse no reassurance. The horse was in fear and not understanding what was expected.”

In total McNamara punched the horse once, kicked him twice and struck him 18 times with the metal object, connecting each time.

In interview, McNamara admitted he was “heavy handed” and said the horse was “trying his patience”.

Ms Meyer said: “He said his bad back was causing him pain that day, and that he was just trying to get the horse to show him some respect.

“He didn’t agree with the vet’s opinion that the horse was fearful, but agreed he overreacted and lost his rag.”

Defending McNamara, who has no previous convictions, Tracey Baker said: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back at what happened, this defendant shouldn’t have gone to work that day.

“He made his decision and he has to live with that. He made full and frank admissions and he has been nothing but very genuinely remorseful.

“His prime concern is for his family and the impact on his father’s reputation, his father is very well known in the industry.

“As I say he has no explanation for his behaviour. It is deplorable, he knows that, and he is thoroughly ashamed of himself. This court case and the consequences are going to stay with him for a very long time.”

A number of yards have withdrawn McNamara’s services, meaning he is no longer working full-time.

Sentencing McNamara, District Judge Diane Baker said it was “gratuitous violence” on his part.

Aggravating factors were the presence of a child, abuse of a position of trust and the length of the beating, she said.

Judge Baker told McNamara: “I’ve read a very moving letter from your partner talking about you as a man and not just a farrier.

“You also deserve credit for working 24 years following a profession that’s important to you, and satisfying a large number of clients for a long period of time.

“All your references talk about the caring way you dealt with horses, and I have no doubt you are very remorseful and had unusual things to deal with in your personal life [at the time].

“But you are a professional man with a professional responsibility and despite that, you didn’t treat that pony in the way you were supposed to. I have seen frankly quite gratuitous violence while you were in a professional position.

“You should have calmed that pony. You kicked, punched and jabbed it numerous times with a weapon. I’ve seen the CCTV and the pony is simply standing there, clearly extremely frightened and it can’t get away.”

Judge Baker said she was considering sending McNamara to prison but took several factors into account, including because his actions were “severely out of character”.

Sentencing: six-month community order, including a curfew barring him from leaving his home between the hours of 7pm and 5am. Total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified from working with equines for a period of three years, unless under adult supervision with the right of appeal after two.

Plymouth Herald

Duns, Scottish Borders: Alan Wilson

#TheList gamekeeper Alan P Wilson, born c. 1958, of Henlaw Cottage, Longformacus, Duns TD11 3NT – killing dozens of wildlife on Longformacus Estate

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders kept a kill list and dumped 1000 animals into a stink pit designed to attract birds of prey and other animals, which Wilson is suspected of shooting.

Wilson admitted nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter.

The offences were committed on the Longformacus Estate in the Borders between March 2016 and June 2017.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
One source said that Alan Wilson was hellbent on killing anything that moved

The court ruled Wilson was responsible for the deaths of numerous wildlife, including protected species. Investigators found animal corpses including otters, badgers, foxes, birds of prey and more when they searched Henlaw Wood in 2017.

A captive eagle owl which the Scottish SPCA suspects was being used as a live lure on birds of prey who were subsequently shot and killed was also discovered at Wilson’s residence. In 2018, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for ten years for failing to ensure the welfare of the eagle owl.

After an investigation which involved experts from the Scottish SPCA’s special investigation unit (SIU), RSPB and Police Scotland, Wilson was found to have used techniques including illegally set snares and unlawful items such as banned pesticides and gin traps to trap and kill wildlife.

A land inspection also found ‘stink pits’, where dead animal carcasses are left to attract other wildlife. These ‘stink pits’ were surrounded by illegally set snares. Animal remains, including mammal skulls, were recovered.

investigators believe Wilson slaughtered thousands more animals.

One source claimed he was hell-bent on killing “everything that moved” except game birds on the estate that were being bred to be shot by wealthy clients.

One kill list found in Wilson’s home catalogued 1,071 dead animals – including cats, foxes, hedgehogs and stoats.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species

Sheriff Peter Paterson said the offences merited a jail term but he felt he was unable to impose one due to guidelines against short-term sentences.

“The sentencing options open to me at the moment do not reflect society’s views,” he added.

The court was told Wilson had pledged to no longer work as a gamekeeper and was now employed cutting trees.

Police welcomed the sentencing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at the end of what they called a “complex inquiry” which had been a “large-scale” investigation.

“The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides,” said Det Con Andy Loughlin.

An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described it as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”.

“The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.

“We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.”

Sara Shaw, head of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environmental crime unit, said Wilson’s actions amounted to a “campaign of deliberate criminality”.

Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland called it an “absolutely appalling incident involving the illegal killing of a range of protected wildlife.”

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture wildlife forensic scientist Dr Lucy Webster said the investigation had been an “excellent example” of partnership working to “bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice”.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports, described it as “one of the worst wildlife crime incidents in recent years”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Wilson’s actions were “unacceptable” and “entirely out of step” with conduct it expected from its members.

He said Wilson’s SGA membership would be terminated immediately.

Sentencing: ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order.

Scottish SPCA
BBC News
Daily Record

Bradford Halal Slaughterhouse Cruelty: Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd and Employees

#TheList for cruelty to sheep at a halal abattoir – Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd (Malik Foods), Malik Halls, 47 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1AZ (director Junaid Imtiaz Malik, born April 1979 and recent ex-director and previous offender Stephen Lee Riley, born July 1980, of Dunnockshaw Farm, Burnley BB11 5PP), employees Imdad Ali of 31 Park Road, Accrington BB4 1SU, Joseph Bell of Carr Bank Farm, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale BB4 8UE, David Hargreaves of Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth, and Elizabeth Bennett of 26 Humber Street, Preston PR3 3WD

Faces of cruelty: director of Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd Junaid Malik and three of the four employees prosecuted for animal abuse

The brutal treatment of sheep at a halal non-stun abattoir was caught on covert CCTV installed by animal welfare charity, Animal Aid.

Blackburn magistrates heard how it showed animals having their throats hacked at repeatedly by a slaughterman responsible for ‘sticking’ them.

Animals were not correctly restrained or loaded during the slaughter process causing greater distress.

The court was told when the overseeing vet was present all procedures were carried out correctly.

Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said: “It is not that they were ignorant of the regulations, these were deliberate breaches.”

Abattoir operator Dale Valley Rossendale Limited pleaded guilty to eight offences under Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations for England and was fined £5,000 plus £2,000 costs.

Imdad Ali, aged 47, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure sheep were not moved, shacked or hoisted after they had been stuck and before it was unconscious, failing to ensure a sheep was killed by severance of its carotid arteries and jugular veins by rapid, uninterrupted movements of a knife, excessive flexing of the neck of a sheep during sticking, failing to ensure sheep were moved with care, and sticking a sheep while it was not properly restrained causing it to fall to the floor while being bled.

He was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Joseph Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse
Joseph Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse

Joseph ‘Joe’ Bell, born 09/06/96, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the improper handling of the sheep prior to slaughter. He was given a community order for 12 months with 120 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £150 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

David Hargreaves, 35, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that every animal was moved with care by lifting ten sheep by their fleeces and/or tails when loading them into restrainers. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £130 costs.

Joseph Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Bennett, 21, pleaded guilty to offences under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations. She was fined £120 and ordered to pay £100 costs.

Mr Shaw said the prosecution case was that a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily during slaughter operations at the Dunnockshaw Farm abattoir on two days in March 2017.

Animal Aid commissioned two freelance investigators to install covert cameras in the killing room.

The investigators secretly entered the premises at night and installed the cameras which eventually provided the evidence on which the Foods Standards Agency based the prosecution.

Mr Shaw said over two days of filming 94 per cent of the sheep killed by non-stun halal methods were not slaughtered in compliance with the welfare requirements.

He said sheep were thrown into restraints and roughly handled prior to slaughter.

Ali failed to carry out the slaughter in the approved manner – a single rapid cut – and animals were moved after the cut before they had lost consciousness.

A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: “The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at slaughterhouses very seriously and we investigate all reported breaches. We welcome that the business and individuals have been convicted and sentenced for their actions.

“Where abattoirs fail to uphold animal welfare standards, the FSA will investigate and seek to have prosecutions brought against those responsible.”

An Animal Aid spokeswoman said:‘While it is positive that this long-running case has finally concluded, we certainly do not feel that justice has been adequately served. These lenient sentences in no way reflect the gravity of the terrible suffering that was inflicted on gentle animals at the most vulnerable time of their short lives.

“It is important to emphasise the shocking scenes we filmed at this slaughterhouse were by no means unique. We have filmed inside 15 slaughterhouses, and found law-breaking in almost every case. Incidents filmed at other slaughterhouses include animals being beaten, kicked and burnt with cigarettes.

“But even when the law is followed to the letter, slaughter can never be cruelty-free. Slaughterhouses are merciless places, where animals’ lives are brutally taken from them.

“We would urge anyone who is shocked by this case to try a cruelty-free diet. Going vegan is the single best thing we can all do to help animals.”

Lancashire Telegraph
Lancs Live
Animal Aid

Animal Aid investigation
Britain’s Failing Slaughterhouses published by Animal Aid

Leicester: Jatinder Dhami

#TheList veterinary surgeon Jatinder Dhami, born 16/07/1971, of 10 Woodlands Close, Leicester LE2 4QP – for violence towards animals in his care

Dr Jatinder Dhami, a vet with the Vets4Pets practice in Springfield Retail Park, Market Harborough, admitted attacking a Staffordshire bull terrier named Sasha after she supposedly bit him following her booster injection. A receptionist at the practice witnessed Dhami kicking the helpless dog twice and then stamping on her.

She described how she saw Dhami kick Sasha “with the front of his toes, the kick propelled her to slide along the floor to the extent of the lead, she looked up and whimpered, cowered and had her ears back.”

She continued; “She got up and the respondent then took a step towards her and kicked her again, causing her to slide along the floor again.”

The receptionist then swore at Dhami, who is her employer, before leaving in tears.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) committee had the power to strike Dhami off the register, leaving him unable to practise.

But instead they decided that, based on good references and character witnesses, it would be unlikely to happen again and a suspension was appropriate.

Dr Dhami told the committee he had domestic and family pressures and had been working long hours. He said in his statement: “I do not, and never have, sought to defend what was an irrational and adrenalin-fuelled action, but equally my actions were in no way premeditated.”

The committee also heard Dr Dhami and his family had been receiving “hostile communications” due to the case.

The committee took that into account during its decision making. It said in its report: “As recently as yesterday, the respondent received an anonymous letter couched in clearly racist terms.

“The committee deplores the fact that the respondent and his family have been subjected to this campaign.”

The committee also said they were assured by one of his colleagues who gave evidence on his behalf that Dr Dhami would not kick another animal.

The report stated: “The committee was particularly impressed by the evidence of a registered veterinary nurse who has worked with the respondent for about 12 months.

“She had no doubt about the respondent’s professionalism and care for animals.”

The committee members decided to give him a suspension of four months.

The report said: “The committee is satisfied that a period of suspension is sufficient in this case to protect the welfare of animals, maintain public confidence and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct.”

Two other allegations relating to a kitten and a Jack Russell dog were dismissed by the committee.

Leicester Mercury

Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales: Dylan Williams

#TheList farmer Dylan E Williams, born c. 1972, of Neuaddlwyd Isaf, Ciliau Aeron, Lampeter SA48 7RE – pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after 47 rotting sheep were found on his land.

Dylan Williams from Ciliau Aeron, SW Wales, was convicted of cruelty after 47 rotting sheep were found on his land

Williams, who also owns a tree surgery business, pleaded guilty to four animal welfare and animal by-products offences after an investigation carried out by Ceredigion Council.

When animal welfare officers visited the farm in April 2018, they found 47 sheep carcasses in various states of decomposition. These carcasses were accessible by other sheep and young lambs that were still alive.

Dylan Williams from Ciliau Aeron, SW Wales, was convicted of cruelty after 47 rotting sheep were found on his land

The council said the majority of sheep seen on the land were suffering from severe wool loss and irritated skin, signs of a debilitating condition known as sheep scab.

Two of the charges brought against Williams under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 concerned the causing of unnecessary suffering to two ewes – one of which was found unconscious with her intestines protruding from her body.

Dylan Williams from Ciliau Aeron, SW Wales, was convicted of cruelty after 47 rotting sheep were found on his land

Another offence related to Williams not meeting the welfare needs of his sheep due to the fact that he failed to properly inspect the flock. He also failed to manage and treat the sheep scab effectively.

In total, there were three separate offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and one under the Animal By-Products Regulations.

Sentencing: 250 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £1,648 costs. Not banned from keeping animals.

Daily Post
Wales Online

Chips Farm Kennels, Ormskirk: Greyhound Trainer Richard Whelan and Others

#TheList greyhound trainer Richard Whelan, born c.1980, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson all of Chips Farm Kennels, Southport Road, Scarisbrick, Ormskirk L40 8HE – doped racing dogs with Viagra, birth control pills and pig sedatives

Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified from working with racing greyhounds as is kennel-hand Gary Morley (pictured)
Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds along with four kennel-hands including Gary Morley (pictured)

Ten greyhounds in the charge of trainer Richard Whelan were “routinely” handed banned substances – including sedatives meant for pigs.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain also banned four of Whelan’s kennel-hands for their involvement as animal welfare campaigners renewed calls for a clampdown on the racing industry’s doping scandal.

Sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – was found in a sample taken from a dog called Skywalker Stevie, who had run at the Hall Green track in Birmingham.

The erection-boosting sex drug is said to give greyhounds an advantage by increasing their blood pressure and heart rate in the early stages of a race.

Richard Whelan is disqualified from working with racing greyounds following a doping scandal
Former greyhound trainer Richard Whelan

Nine other dogs handled by Whelan, 38, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson were found to have been doped.

Among the nine, seven were found to have consumed norethisterone – a key chemical in birth control pills used to suppress oestrogen in female dogs, so they can continue racing while in heat.

Three were also found to have ingested a pig sedative capable of slowing down a greyhound to potentially change a race result.

And another champion racer, Leonas Lark, tested positive for ­performance-boosting minoxidil – the active ingredient in men’s hair loss ­treatment Regaine.

Pills meant for treating malaria in humans and cramp in dogs were also seized during a 2017 raid of The Kennels, which is no longer in use.

Tim Morris, a scientific advisor for the greyhound authority, said: “The regime at the kennels was one in which the abuse of doping substances was frequent, if not routine.”

The board said Whelan placed “reckless trust” in them.

The banned trainer later admitted the test results were “very strange” but denied any knowledge of greyhounds being drugged and blamed jealous rivals.

He claimed the door to the kennels at Hall Green racetrack were unlocked between races.

He told us: “A lot of people did not like us training dogs.

We were very good at training dogs. We had a lot of winners.”

He said his ban was “a disgusting decision. I walked out of the hearing.

I understand being fined, but to be fined that amount and banned… it is a shambles.”

Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide
Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide

Greyhound racing has been blighted with doping claims for years and welfare experts say efforts to clean up the sport are failing.

Rita James, of greyhound protection group CAGED, said: “We think more can be done, most definitely.

In our view, race-fixing and doping is commonplace.

“People are putting dogs at risk to line their own pockets.”

Whelan claimed he dealt with the “money-side of the business” and “trusted the kennel-hands”.

Sentencing: all five men were each fined £5,000 and disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds.


Wallington, Greater London: Zahra Rafiq

#TheList vet Dr Zahra Tahaneem Rafiq, born circa 1990, now of Wallington, Greater London, and previously of Merseyside – took two newborn French bulldog puppies from their owners; one of puppies died

Dr Zara Rafiq was fired after she took a French bulldog puppy she was meant to be delivering.

Rafiq took the pup home with her after joking to a colleague that she planned to do it. The newborn dog died three days later at Rafiq’s home, which she admitted despite earlier saying it had faded in her car.

Rafiq had delivered the litter of six dogs, each worth up to £2,000, by Caesarian.

Instead of leaving them to recover with their mum Lila, she and a colleague, Oscar Perez Maillo, both took a puppy home with them.

The second dog was later returned still alive after another worker with VetsNow raised concerns.

Rafiq was fired by VetsNow in Huyton, Merseyside, and a misconduct hearing by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found her to be ‘dishonest’. However, she was cleared to practise again after six months.

‘I’m fuming,’ owner Safinah Mhagrh told the Daily Record. ‘That vet stole my puppy. It was a terrible, heartless thing to do. She should not be allowed to practise.’

Safinah had taken her three-year-old French bulldog Lila to surgery after she went into labour in December 2017.

‘The first one was coming out legs first and got stuck. I thought Lila was going to die,’ she said. She was told to go home while vets operated.

When she came back, she was told there had been a litter of four but the stuck one hadn’t survived. Another of the puppies then died as it was too weak, but Lila bonded with the remaining two.

Ms Mhagrh said she had contacted police but the case hadn’t been taken further. A hearing heard Rafiq was remorseful and not motivated by financial gain.

Panel chair Ian Arundel said: ‘The committee concluded Dr Rafiq was very unlikely to pose a risk to animals in future.’

VetsNow refunded the £200 cost for the Caesarian.

Dr Laura Playforth, head of veterinary standards at Vets Now said: ‘We are extremely sorry about what happened, especially to our client and their pets.

‘We are very clear on our position here – these individuals will not work with us again.

‘I want to reassure pet owners that this is an isolated incident. We have almost 600 vets and vet nurses working for us up and down the country, working tirelessly to help animals in their greatest time of need. In my 20 years as a vet, I’ve never seen anything like this case.’


Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute: Georgina Bretman

#TheList Georgina Anne Bretman, born c. 1989, of Glebefield Road, Helensburgh G84 8SZ – injected her own dog with insulin causing the animal to suffer hypoglycaemia, collapse, convulsions and seizures.

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.
Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Attention-seeking veterinary nurse Bretman injected black-and-white cocker spaniel, Florence, with a drug that made the animal collapse and suffer from convulsions and seizures.

The two-year-old pup required immediate veterinary treatment to avoid falling into a coma and dying.

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Bretman was convicted of causing the animal unnecessary suffering by injecting her with insulin.

Although no explanation was offered as to why the vet nurse had harmed her pet, the court was told that she was an “attention-seeker”.

On one occasion her employer, A&E Vets, gave Bretman an evening off – then correctly predicted that, within a few hours, her dog would suddenly become ill and be brought back to the surgery requiring emergency treatment.

Sheriff Joan Kerr found Bretman guilty of a charge under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, of injecting Florence with insulin resulting in her requiring immediate treatment to “avoid coma or death”.

Florence returned to good health in the care of the Scottish SPCA.

Sheriff Kerr said: “Flo was vulnerable and completely dependant on you for her care.

“Your motivation to cause her this suffering may never be known, you have chosen not to shed any light on that when you spoke to a social worker.

“You have expressed no remorse for causing Flo such suffering.”

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

It was noted Bretman harmed her own pet in her leisure time, not any animals she worked with and was not banned from working with animals. She was later banned from practising as a veterinary nurse.

Her former employer, Lesley Herd, became suspicious after Florence was brought in for emergency treatment on several separate occasions – always suffering from the same mysterious symptoms.

During Bretman’s trial, Mrs Herd said: “The dog was fine between episodes so I really didn’t know what was going on with the dog at all, we couldn’t understand why she was having these episodes.”

Mrs Herd said that, on one occasion, she took blood samples from Florence to send to the Glasgow University Vet School for testing. Although Bretman volunteered to deliver the samples, they never arrived.

Mrs Herd said: “Initially she didn’t want any bloods taken to the vet school, then agreed it was really the only way forward if we were going to find out what was going on.

“She volunteered to take the blood to the vet school. Later I found out the blood had never arrived at the vet school.”

She told the court: “Because of the pattern of collapse and low blood glucose on each occasion and the fact that the dog was normal between episodes, I was suspicious insulin had been administered to the dog.”

She described Bretman as “quite attention seeking” and added: “I had said to my partner she will find an excuse to come in to the clinic because she’s not happy about having the night off and I said ‘I bet Flo collapses tonight’, and it did happen.”

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Bretman was later suspended and sacked from her job.

Mrs Herd contacted the SSPCA because of her concerns.

In evidence Bretman denied the charge and said she wasn’t responsible and only ever wanted to find out what was wrong with Flo.

It was put to her during her evidence: “It might be suggested you took a dislike to the dog, that’s why you harmed her.”

Bretman said: “Not at all, I put a lot of energy in. She was my companion.”

Defence counsel Craig Findlater handed 18 pages of references to the sheriff for consideration before his client was sentenced.

He told the court she is now unemployed and has moved back to her family home.

Mr Finldater said: “She has grown up with animals around her. She is educated to degree level and gained employment within her chosen profession, that is caring for animals.”

Sentencing: community payback order of 140 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping dogs for two years (expires September 2019).

Daily Record

In May 2019, the RCVS Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee struck Bretman off the register.

The committee found Bretman’s actions in deliberately administering a poisonous substance to Florence, thereby risking her death, to be “very serious and deplorable conduct on the part of a veterinary nurse, a member of a profession specifically entrusted to look after and care for animals”.

It also took into account the fact Florence needed urgent veterinary treatment to avoid death and that Bretman was in a position of trust over Florence as her owner.

Evening Times

Pudsey, Leeds: Jacqueline C Wilkins

#TheList professional dog walker Jacqueline Wilkins, born c. 1972, of Dorset Grove, Pudsey, Leeds LS28 7EN – caught on CCTV abusing a customer’s pet

Professional dog walker Jacqueline Wilkins and Bella the boxer
Jacqui Wilkins is banned from keeping dogs for two years after being caught on camera hitting a boxer twice

Jacqueline ‘Jacqui’ Wilkins, owner of dog-walking service Wilkins Walkies, was caught on camera striking boxer Bella twice and shouting at her repeatedly when the dog would not stay still long enough for her to remove her harness after a walk.

In footage captured on CCTV cameras inside the home of Bella’s owners Gary Hirtsch and Louise Williams, Wilkins can be heard shouting “You’re not doing as you’re told, are you?” and “Do you want another smack?”

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard the couple had hired Wilkins when Miss Williams broke her wrist and was unable to walk Bella and their other dog, Coco.

Bella’s owners checked CCTV footage recorded in their home after noticing a change in the dog’s behaviour. They made a report to the RSPCA after seeing the footage.

Prosecutor Andrew Davidson said: “What you can see there is what the defendant now accepts was unnecessarily rough treatment. The prosecution say there’s very rarely any reason for using that type of behaviour to discipline a dog.”

Wilkins admitted failing to meet the needs of a dog by protecting it from injury or distress. She had initially pleaded not guilty but changed her plea following expert evidence about the psychological damage Bella may have suffered.

A separate charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal was dismissed.

Dog abuser Jacqueline Wilkins from Pudsey, Leeds
Dog abuser Jacqueline Wilkins

Magistrates were told that Wilkins had experienced a “moment of madness” and felt she was disciplining Bella at the time, but now recognised her behaviour was wrong.

The court heard she was of previous good character and had told her clients about the case, prompting a number to write references and two of them to attend court in support.

A probation officer also reported that Wilkins had reflected on the harm she may have caused Bella and was “completely remorseful” about her actions.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Hirtsch said: “I feel relieved. We had put her in a position of trust. I think they’ve done the right thing for the safety of the other dogs.”

He said Bella’s behaviour had changed significantly following the incident, adding: “Bella was so friendly, but then she was reluctant to go out. She used to cower on the sofa.

Wilkins was visibly upset as she left the courtroom after being told that she would not be allowed to keep her own dog, Bentley, during the two-year ban.

Friend and client Janet Pearson said: “Obviously she’s not going to have an income now but the thing she’s most upset about is losing her dog. Her dog is like her baby.

“I think the court has made an example of her. If I thought she didn’t care and was cruel, clearly there’s no way she would look after mine. It’s not just a business to her though. Dogs are her life.

“She’s worried about her clients too. What are they going to do?”

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and an RSPCA education programme; total of £385 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping or caring for any dogs for two years – later reduced on appeal to just three months.

Yorkshire Evening Post

Galston, East Ayrshire: John Hendrie Smith

#TheList vet John Hendrie Smith, born 20/05/1929, of Galston, East Ayrshire KA4 – left 200 dogs howling in agony as they died from an outdated euthanasia injection to the heart

Terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce howled in agony after being given a lethal injection by disgraced vet John Hendrie Smith from Galston
Terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce howled in agony for several minutes after being given a lethal injection by disgraced vet John Hendrie Smith from Galston

Hendrie Smith, who  has been a vet for nearly 65 years, was investigated after an owner complained. Shockingly, he was found to have used the controversial technique on hundreds of helpless animals at the Valley Veterinary Centre in Galston, Ayrshire.

The Times reports that Hendrie Smith routinely injected canines directly into their hearts causing “appalling pain”.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) were made aware of his technique when a dog owner complained to them after the vet had euthanised his dog.

Darren Stevenson said Bounce, his German Shepherd, had “screamed in agony” for minutes after the injection before dying.

When the RCVS investigated his complaint it found that Hendrie Smith, who qualified in 1953, had used the technique for years on more than 200 dogs.

The vet admitted than many animals wailed in agony before dying

Reports from the disciplinary enquiry record that Darren approached the vet for help with his terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce.

However when Hendrie Smith made a house call he had failed to bring a muzzle for the dog and instead tried to wrap a belt around Bounce’s mouth.

The vet also had to borrow some pliers from Stevenson to fix a syringe.

The needle was then inserted through the lung wall, a process likely to cause intense pain because of its dense nerve network.

Stevenson’s partner at the time Rachael McRoberts heard the dog scream.

She told the Times: “It was horrible. The dog was wailing for what seemed like ages.

“I’ve never heard a dog make a noise like that.”

The case raises questions over how the RCVS regulates vets and why an ageing practitioner, who qualified so long ago, had not been subject to checks and revalidation.

Under rules introduced about five years ago vets must do at least 35 hours a year of “professional development”, but this can range from formal courses to reading journals or “reflecting” on cases.

The RCVS advises vets: “It’s up to you to decide how best to fulfil your own learning needs” and says records need not be updated annually and are unlikely to be inspected.

The Sun
RCVS Disciplinary Committee hearing into John Hendrie Smith (automatic download)